If you’re like me, you hate the act of gambling, but love the concept of sports gambling. How does that make any bit of sense, some of you ask? You feel moreso like you’re in control. If I bet black in roulette, should it probably come out black? Statistically no. You’ve got less than a 50% chance of that happening with the devilish 0 and 00 spaces that stare at you like they’re trying to make you melt. How about blackjack? Likewise, it’s about a coinflip, give or take, if you beat the dealer or not. But if I place a moneyline bet on the Patriots to beat the Raiders this Sunday, there’s a pretty good shot I’m going to win.
If you know football and can understand the trends, you can put yourself in a good position to make money. Of course, sports can be crazy (sometimes even crazier than Atlantic City table games), so be cautious with your betting. With sports gambling now becoming legal in the great state of New Jersey, the Brunch is here to put more of a focus on something that has been a stable of ours: NFL lines. As the NBA and even college basketball begins, we’ll delve into those areas as well.
I’ll give you a column every week with my best bets, along with teasers and parlays that can give you even bigger winnings. I’ll include payouts as well, so you’ll know everything you need to know about potential bets you could make. Just remember: anything can happen. And don’t send an angry mob to my doorstep if I fail you.
(Note: all lines are taken from topbet.eu, home team in caps)
SEAHAWKS (-5) over Broncos (-235)
To the first-time gambler, you may not know the 3-point home rule. Generally, a team will be favored by three points just for being the home team. (Ex: if two teams that are evenly matched by oddsmakers’ eyes are playing each other, the home team will be favored by 3.) Seattle is an exception to this rule, as they’ll usually get 3.5 or even 4 points sometimes because of their spectacular homefield advantage. That being said, that means the oddsmakers believe that the Seahawks (coming off a loss) are better than the Broncos (coming off a win) by only 1.5 points at most? Do we remember what happened the last time these two teams met? And that was on a neutral field. It’s pretty clear Denver’s offense has lost a half step since last year, and that’s no surprise with the ridiculous pace they were on. The Seahawks, however, looked just as good as ever Week 1 at home against Green Bay. I see no reason why they won’t play that way against the Broncos as well.
Bet $20, win $18.18; Bet $100, win $90.90
PANTHERS (-3.5) over Steelers (EVEN)
With the same logic as before, oddsmakers are saying that Carolina and Pittsburgh are even teams. Are we sure about that? The Steelers defense has looked awful so far this season, allowing 27 points to Brian Hoyer and 26 points to Joe Flacco. The Panthers defense, however, just finished limiting Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson to 7 points, without Greg Hardy. It’s clear to see that these two defenses are on opposite ends of the spectrum. In addition, it looks as if the Panthers’ regression may not happen. Cam Newton looks solid despite playing injured, and his receiving core is arguably the same as last year, if not better, with the addition of Kelvin Benjamin. I like Pittsburgh’s offense, but they’re facing a scary matchup. Only 4 points for Carolina to cover? I’ll take that, thank you very much.
Bet $20, win $20; Bet $100, win $100
These lines are ripe for the picking – with a little help. In teasers, the oddsmakers are willing to give you at least 6 extra points on the line whichever way you want, as long as you throw in at least one other team that has to cover as well. Teasers can be dangerous, so choose wisely. I’ll give you my favorite teaser teams with teased lines (remember, they’re shifted 6 points the way that I choose), and at the end, I’ll give you the payouts of different combinations.
Redskins (+12.5) over EAGLES (-110)
Washington looks rejuvenated with Kirk Cousins at the helm, as he fits much better into the Jay Gruden offense. In addition, the Colts showed us that to stop Philly’s offense, you have to keep them off the field by running the ball. Enter Alfred Morris. Also keep in mind that Washington had 10 sacks against Jacksonville last week, while the Eagles are without Evan Mathis, Lane Johnson, and Allen Barbre on the offensive line. This smells like a recipe for success. Getting to the gambling aspect, it seems like these two teams are in similar spots. While the Redskins (sorry!) got a big win over the Jags in Week 2, the Eagles’ win over the Colts was even bigger. Likewise, Washington has to play on Thursday next week against the Giants (teams tend to not do too well when they have to play on Thursday the following week, this has nothing to do with the Giants), but Philly also has a huge game against the Niners. While I’d be a little nervous to take Washington at the original +6.5 line because they are clearly an inferior team to the Eagles, I have no issue with the +12.5 points.
Texans (+4) over GIANTS (-110)
The Giants are inching dangerously toward “toxic” status; that is, a team that despite being in a good spot gamblingwise, should not be chosen because of just how awful they are. Let’s look at the facts: the defense is average at best. The offensive line is a joke. The wide receivers have talent, but also seem to have replaced their hands with cinder blocks. Their running back is a plodder. And their quarterback is just not good enough to make up for all that aforementioned stuff. Don’t get me wrong, Eli Manning isn’t bad (and that’s coming from a Cowboys fan). He just has nothing to work with. Combine that with a Texans team that has looked good at 2-0, will run the ball down New York’s throats with Arian Foster, and has J.J. Watt up against that offensive line (and maybe that secondary too). Some may think that you can’t give up on the Giants or trust the Texans just yet, and they would be smart. That’s why I’m nervous of the original line in case of a weird Giants win. But with the way things have been going, and with the fact that New York plays on Thursday next week, I can’t seem them beating Houston by 4 or more.
BENGALS (-1) over Titans (-105)
Cincy has been fierce against the spread at home, and it probably won’t change this week, but A.J. Green’s iffy status has me worried about the original line. What else do you need, besides don’t bet against the Bengals at home? Well, for starters, their defense is one of the best in the league. How did Tennessee fare against one of the worst defenses in the league last week (at home, no less)? Yeah…and, especially if Green is out, expect Cincinnati to pound the ball with Gio Bernard and Jeremy Hill, something that worked quite well against the Titans last week. The jury is still out on how good Tennessee is, and we probably will have to wait another week to find out the verdict. The Bengals have a bye next week, while the Titans have one of their biggest games of the season: at Indianapolis. That’s enough to make me look past Tennessee coming off a bad loss and Cincinnati coming off a big win. If the Bengals can get even the tiniest of victories here, it’s at least a push.
Any two-team combination of Redskins/Texans, Redskins/Bengals, or Texans/Bengals: Bet $20, win $18.18; Bet $100, win $90.90
Redskins, Texans, & Bengals: Bet $20, win $32; Bet $100, win $160
Every week, I’ll give you my Moonshot Moneyline parlay. It will be a 4 or 5 team parlay with high upside at just a low bet. On the bright side, the lines don’t matter here – all these teams have to do is win. On the dark side, they all have to win. These teams will tend to be the underdogs in their matchups, meaning they’ll have moneyline value because all they have to do is win. (They’re not terrible options for teasers too, just a little riskier choices – that’s why we call it the moonshot.)
Four-team moneyline parlay: BROWNS (+105) over Ravens, Packers (+110) over LIONS (+110), Bears (EVEN) over JETS, Chargers (+115) over BILLS
The Browns and Ravens are both coming off big wins, but are you really ready to give Cleveland points at home after what they did last week to the Saints? To me, Baltimore isn’t blowing anyone out of the water and this should be a grind-it-out tough divisional matchup. Cleveland looks forward to a bye, while the Ravens get Carolina next week…Aaron Rodgers owns the Lions, who looked as undisciplined as always last week. Sure, the defense is bad, Green Bay just beat the Jets while Detroit lost to the Panthers, and the Pack travel to the Windy City next week, but sometimes, in a bet like this, it’s easy to just ride Rodgers…The Bears aren’t in a great spot here, as they should be exhausted from that emotional win over San Francisco, while the Jets will want to avenge their Green Bay loss. However, I’m still coming back to this: how in the world are the Jets corners going to cover Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery? I’ll bet on that…Buffalo has beaten two good teams already, while the Chargers are coming off an emotional win over Seattle. But San Diego isn’t really on the wrong side of this one (they get Jacksonville next week while Buffalo goes to Houston) and they’re definitely the better team. They could steal this one from the Bills.
Bet $5, win $87.55; Bet $10, win $175.11; bet $20, win $350.22